Services

Supplemental Food Distribution in Saguache Today

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Supplemental Food Programs are available in Saguache Today. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

The next Supplemental Commodity Distribution and CSFP will be Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. at the commodity building at 505 3rd Street in Saguache and in Center earlier in the day from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 pm in Center at the Kiwanis Building at 5th & Broadway.
Everyone is welcome for the supplemental distribution!
If available, please bring proof of income, residency, and photo id. If you are having someone pick up for you, don’t forget to send in your proxy form. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
  

Seniors Saving Money with SHED in Saguache Today

Saguache County seniors are taking advantage of the SHED (Saguache Healthy Elders Discount) program and saving hundreds of dollars every week at the 4th Street Food Store.

The weekly truck arrives with more food to re-stock the shelves at the 4th Street Food Store in downtown Saguache. Photo: Saguache Today/Lynn Nowiskee.

To sign up for SHED membership, you must be 60 years of age or older and reside in Saguache County.  Members receive a 20% discount on all food purchases at the nonprofit grocery.  Ride-share and/or grocery delivery service also is available through SHED.

The program, started last fall with generous support from the Saguache County commissioners, is intended to help seniors on fixed incomes who earn too much to qualify for other assistance but still struggle to make ends meet. 

Participation is increasing steadily as awareness of the program grows.   Nearly 40% of our customers now are taking the SHED discount, and we encourage eligible residents to do so as needed.

From squash to cherries, summer’s fruits & vegetables are coming soon to 4th St Food Store.

With the discount, on prices already significantly lower than those offered at comparable health or local food stores, low-income residents no longer need to drive 100 or so miles roundtrip to shop for healthy choices.

That saves time, gas money, wear and tear on vehicles, and it keeps more tax dollars in Saguache County.

The 4th Street Food Store, a nonprofit project of Saguache Works, is dedicated to providing affordable access to fresh, healthy food, to supporting Valley food producers and to creating jobs for area residents. Lower prices, and SHED discounts, leave very little margin to cover overhead expenses and to pay store staff.   Saguache Works very much appreciates, therefore, those senior customers who can afford to pay full price and decline to take food discounts.

To sign up for SHED, or to inquire about ride services, stop by the 4th Street Food Store, at 404 4th St. in downtown Saguache, or call 719-655-0216.

Saguache Outlines $2.2 Million Water, Sewer Projects

By Kathy Bedell, © Saguache Today

Colorado regulates its water in a unique manner, different from many other states in America. So when it comes to water use, and water rights it’s best to remember the phrase: “First in Use, First in Right.”

Water, it's the life source of Saguache Today and th entire San Luis Valley. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

Water, it’s the life source of Saguache Today and the entire San Luis Valley. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

In short, the term refers to the early settlers in Colorado; if they were the first to use the water, then they (for the most part) will maintain the senior water rights for that resource. For the San Luis Valley, that regulation provides some solid benefits considering many of the state’s water rights tabulations for the Valley appear on page one. After all, Valley Pioneers were the first ones to put the water to use.

Of course, water rights and laws are much more complicated than a simple catch phrase, but it’s a good point of reference as the discussions and solutions to the water and sewer projects continue and are put into motion for the Town of Saguache, starting in March 2017.

On November 19, Saguache Town Administrator Pam Fye discussed the plan for the Saguache Water Augmentation & Sewer Replacement Projects, scheduled to begin in March 2017.

The plan is to have the augmentation plan filed with the state by December 31, 2016, as “we want to stay ahead of any kinds of fines,” explained Fye at the Annual Planning Meeting for the Saguache Chamber of Commerce.

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Saguache Chamber President Barry Van Sant (center) asks a question during the Saguache Chamber’s Annual Planning Meeting on November 19. The meeting included updates on the Town’s water and sewer projects scheduled to begin in March 2017. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

The entire presentation can be seen in this Saguache Today video. The following information contains the highlights from Fye’s presentation. The Town Board will be holding a Public meeting on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. to continue to educate the public about the status of the water and sewer projects and how residents can be better prepared and know what to expect. SEE Agenda for Dec. 1 Meeting: HERE.

Actions to Date

  • October 2015 – The Town employed water attorneys Berg, Hill, Greenleaf, Ruscitti, LLP
  • October 2015 – The Town employed Clear Water Solutions to assist with water rights, planning, and engineering.
  • December 2015 – The town received memorandum quantifying are injurious, well pumping depletions using the Rio Grande Decision Support System (RGDSS) response function models.
  • February 2016 – The Town held a special session with water attorneys and engineers to explore options for meeting augmentation requirements locally.
  • May 2016 – The Town met with water attorneys and engineers, as well as the division engineer’s office in Alamosa and the Colorado Division of Water Resources to discuss options for augmenting the town’s ground water use.
  • September 2016 – The Town held a special session held to hear options from water attorneys and engineers, followed by discussion and an eventually vote on augmentation approach. The Town voted to use the Response Function Approach which includes quantifying injurious depletions to area streams using response functions included in the RGDSS Groundwater Model and replace the substations with sources available to the streams.

Under this approach the town will have to make replacements during each month of the year to the Rio Grande but only during irrigation season months (April to October), as well as to Saguache Creek and San Luis Creek. The Town may also be able to claim credit for lawn irrigation return flows (LIRFs) when residents and businesses in town use ditch water during the irrigation season to water lawns and gardens a large percent of that water accrues to the unconfined aquifer.

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Town of Saguache Public Works Director Danny Pacheco explains some of the details of the upcoming water & sewer proejcts to attendees at the Saguache Annual Planning Meeting on November 19, 2016. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

Sustainability Requirements

  • Town must ensure its pumping levels do not exceed the 1978 to 2000 average in future years (202) acre-feet per year)
  • Take steps to reduce groundwater pumping
  • Encourage use of Gotthelf Ditch No.1 water rights for irrigation purposes (lawn and garden)
  • Acquire additional water rights or contract with other entities to operate and administer the delivery of the replacement water outside of the Saguache Creek area.
  • Installation of meters on residential and business taps.

Town of Saguache Water Use

  • This averages 233,541 gallons per day or 677 gallons per account/residents per day. In order to meet the augmentation planned, the Town of Saguache needs to stay below 202 acre-feet per year.water_9

Where is the Town’s Plan Now?

  • The town applied for and received two grants for the engineering and assessment portion of the sewer project one from the department of local affairs for $25,000 and one from the Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment for $10,000.
  • The engineering and assessment has now been completed with the exception of the financing plan.
  • The engineering and assessment for the rehabilitation of Saguache water waste collection system is to utilize a combination of slip-lining and mainline replacement.
  • Also associated with this will be the replacement of selected manholes. Main lines that are not candidates for successful slip-lining due to the degree of deterioration will be removed and replaced.
  • Service lines will be re-established and reconnected with proper watertight connections.
  • Street paving and were surface restoration to pre construction will be included.

At this point in the planning and assessment stage, it is estimated that the capital cost for the complete project will be approximately $2.2 million. This number allows for an 80% replacement and 20% slip-lining of sewer infrastructure.

Once this project is implemented, explained Fye, the Town should see future savings as ongoing operation and maintenance repair costs will be eliminated. The engineers estimate that there will be a reduction in yearly operations and maintenance cost due to less frequent blockages due to roots and elimination of flooding the wastewater treatment plant due to infiltration of groundwater.water_7

What is the plan?

  • It was originally planned to begin the rehabilitation project in May 2017. However with the completion of the project needs assessments and the determination that the problem is so much worse than originally suspected the town and the engineers would like to begin the project as early as March 2017.
  • An additional reason for moving the project forward is due to the timing of the sub-water recession.
  • The town started the PRI (Primary Rate Interface) qualification process this past spring for one million dollar grant through CDPHE and a long-term low interest loan for the balance. The town is currently seeking emergency funding sources to move the project up a can still rule to January 2017.

water_mapPhase I – Phase one of the construction project will cost approximately $82,000 and will get the Town of Saguache “the most bang for the buck,” explains Fye, as it will eliminate the largest percent of infiltration of groundwater and will be mostly slip lining.

  • Phase I will begin on Pitkin Ave., Christy Ave., and San Juan Ave., east of Highway 285 to 1st Street.
  • The majority of phase one will be slip line but will also consist of some replacement
  • With slip lining there will be disruption of sewer service during business hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. you will not be able to use your wastewater systems (sinks, washing machine, showers, tubs and toilets) during these hours
  • The Town will post notices on each area of 24 hours prior to the disruption. These disruptions should be limited to 1 to 2 blocks per day
  • The repairs will require heavy equipment so Saguache residents can expect noise from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and some street blockage as needed during this time.

Stay tuned to Saguache Today for additional updates and notices regarding public meetings!

The Poppies: Honoring Veterans in Saguache Today

It’s Veterans Day – November 11 in Saguache Today, the day set aside to honor those men and women who have served or are actively serving in the United States military.

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The Saguache Veterans Memorial, honoring those who served their country, is located in the Hillside Cemetery. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

One of the strongest visual image associated with this Day of Remembrance is the Bright Red Poppy Flower. So in honor of Veterans everywhere but especially those Saguache Veterans, here’s the story of the Poppy thanks to the American Legion Auxilary website.

The Poppy Story

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The tombstone of Saguache World War II Veteran Floyd Leroy Smith overlooks the town of Saguache at the Hillside Cemetery. Photo: Saguache Today.

From the battlefields of World War I, weary soldiers brought home the memory of a barren landscape transformed by wild poppies, red as the blood that had soaked the soil. By that miracle of nature, the spirit of their lost comrades lived on. The poppy became a symbol of the sacrifice of lives in war and represented the hope that none had died in vain. The American Legion Auxiliary poppy has continued to bloom for the casualties of four wars, its petals of paper bound together for veterans by veterans, reminding America each year that the men and women who have served and died for their country deserve to be remembered. The poppy, as a memorial flower to the war dead, can be traced to a single individual, Moina Michael. She was so moved by Lt. Col. McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Fields,” that she wrote a response:

. . . the blood of heroes never dies
But lends a luster to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders’ Fields.

poppy_galOn impulse, she bought a bouquet of poppies – all that New York City’s Wanamaker’s Department Store had – and handed them to businessmen meeting at the New York YMCA where she worked. She asked them to wear the poppy as a tribute to the fallen. That was November 1918. World War I was over, but America’s sons would rest forever “in Flanders’ Fields.” Later she would spearhead a campaign that would result in the adoption of the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice. READ MORE HERE.

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Literacy Wins Big With Friends’ Used Book Sale

The recent Used Book Sale to benefit the Friends of the Northern Saguache County Library District was an exciting page turner with a happy ending. The donated books found good homes during the month-long sale at the Masonic Building in downtown Saguache. Saguache LibraryThe Friends raised $2,500 thanks to book-lovers from across the San Luis Valley who came and found unique treasures for their personal libraries.

“Thanks to the generosity of the people who came to look at the books and take them to a good home,” stated Friends of the Library member Hillary Conroy. “We have cleared out all the books!”

While most of the books were sold, the leftovers were distributed as follows:

  • A large box of good children’s books to the school to give out to kids.
  • Six boxes of books, mostly large print, were distributed to the Veteran’s Home Lake facility.
  • Two boxes of books to the Nazarenes who will send them on to Reservations.
  • The Friends sent several boxes to Restore, an organization that will give books to many organizations/facilities.

The proceeds raised from the Used Book Sale will be put towards all of the great Northern Saguache County Library District programs the Friends provide for kids and adults in Saguache Today. So enjoy, and now get to reading!

Also a reminder: The next regular monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Northern Saguache County Library District will take place tonight, September 12 at the Saguache Public Library at 4:45 PM. Public is welcome, as always. spacer

Yoga Classes Continue in Downtown Saguache Today

Take time to feel the body move with Gentle Yoga at the BeBop Studio in Saguache taught by Cynthia Nielsen of Radiant Flow.

Yoga classes continue at the BeBop Studio in Saguache taught by Cynthia Nielsen of Radiant Flow. Join the group Mondays at 10 a.m.

Practice makes perfect, even when it comes to Yoga. So why not recommit to your good health with the Yoga with Cynthia Nielsen, LMT in downtown Saguache Yoga. Classes are every Mondays strtaing at 10 a.m. at BeBop Studio, located next to Blue Earth Cafe.
This class is open to all levels, designed to help participants maintain and gain strength, build endurance, flexibility, and balance. So, whether you’re just strating out or have been practicing the ancient art for years, come and join the group on Mondays! There is a $10 suggested donation.

Radiant Flow Cynthia resides in the Northern San Luis Valley. Her business Radiant Flow offers yoga – massage – Watsu, as well as one on one yoga classes to prepare and encourage an ongoing home practice. Contact Cynthia. 719.298.0360. Cynthianielsenlmt@gmail.com.

If you’re looking for something a bit more fast paced to get the blood really flowing then consider the Zumba Classes, part of the Befit Exercise Program at BEBOP Studio in downtown Saguache. Instructor Julia Hammel has been seeing a growing group of enthusiastic Zumba-lovers. These classes are offered on Tuesday and Thursday at 4:15 p.m. Hammel also started a kick boxing cardio class on Friday at 4:15 p.m. No charge, just a good workout to improve your health! Everyone welcome!

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Library’s Teen Read List To Help with Recent Events

Hopefully at this point in the rearing-up process, parents and families have received the “keep them reading” message that has been shouted from the proverbial mountaintop for years now. So, if you haven’t seen your child pick up a book this summer, it might be time to step away from the screen and have them turn a page or two BEFORE they head back to school.Teen Read List

Of course, one of the best places to do that is the Saguache Public Library. And for those teen-aged readers, a suggested read list for teens has been compiled to help them process the recent news headlines dealing with the tragic killing of black men, as well as peace-officers in the line of duty. Young adults are naturally curious about current events and their roles as emerging citizens, so chances are they are already having discussions regarding race, justice, and privilege.

To that end the Saguache Library has shared this suggested read list for teenagers which was recently compiled by librarians around the country who have been looking for ways to support and educate their communities. The collection includes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry titles, which might provide a starting point for reflection and conversation.

The Saguache Public Library is part of the Northern Saguache County Library District. The library is located at 702 Pitkin Avenue. Hours are as follows: Monday – Wednesday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m; Thursday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sunday: Closed. Library patrons may also connect with them on the library website or by calling 719-655-2551.

From Thanksgiving to summer reading programs, the Saguache Public Library provides many fun and educational programs for local children. Photo: Lynn Nowiskee/Saguache Today.

From Thanksgiving to summer reading programs, the Saguache Public Library provides many fun and educational programs for local children and adults. Photo: Lynn Nowiskee/Saguache Today.

** UPDATE: Hayden Pass Fire ** July 17 @ 10 p.m.

Hayden Pass fire operations went well on Sunday, July 17. The hand lines along the Hayden Pass road held. There was reduced burning within the containment lines around the north and east flanks. Crews patrolled and improved the containment lines from Big Cottonwood Creek to Lake Creek. Hot shot crews continued their direct line attack between Balman Reservoir and Rainbow Lake, with work continuing tomorrow.

Hayden Pass Fire Page Liked · July 16  ·    #HaydenPassFire firefighters in the Lake Creek area are building direct line just south of the Lake Creek road over to Rainbow Lake up to the rock outcroppings. Photo: Hayden Pass Fire Facebook Page.

Hayden Pass Fire firefighters finish a long day on the job as this weekend’s efforts continue to make progress in the area. Photo: Hayden Pass Fire Facebook Page.

TToday’s weather will be calmer than today. It will bring temperatures around 77 degrees, with a relative humidity of 20%. Firefighters are expecting far lower winds than today, with west-southwest winds gusting to 13 mph. The forecast brings a mostly cloudy outlook.

The Sangre de Cristo Wilderness will continue to be closely monitored for fire activity. The public can expect to see pockets of unburned fuel in the Wilderness. Wilderness integrity will be maintained by following Agency policy and Land Management Plan guidance. Wildfires are a key agent of ecological change for nearly all for the ecosystems with in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Individual species and plant communities have evolved with wildfire and have adapted to it in various ways. Periodic fires are essential to maintaining the health and diversity for plant communities and sustaining wildlife populations in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

The public is cautioned to be on the lookout for animals fleeing the fire. Be especially aware of the deer, bighorn sheep and mountain goats fleeing downhill into the quieter valley floor at all hours of the day and night.spacer

** UPDATE: Hayden Pass Fire ** July 13 @ 10 p.m.HaydenPassFire_July 13_saguache Todayspacer

Photo taken from a flyover conducted on the #HaydenPassFire on July 13, 2016.

Photo taken from a flyover conducted on the #HaydenPassFire on July 13, 2016.

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** UPDATE: Hayden Pass Fire ** July 12 @ 10 p.m.HaydenPassFire_July 12 10pspacer

HaydenPassFire_kroschelspacer** UPDATE: Hayden Pass Fire ** July 11 @ 11 p.m.

Hayden Pass Fire in Fremont County Doubles in Size
Today’s hot, dry and windy conditions fed the Hayden Pass Fire allowing it to rapidly spread to the southeast and more than double in size from yesterday. The fire remained in unpopulated areas and no structures have been lost. The forecast for tomorrow remains hot and dry with less wind. Fire managers expect additional growth tomorrow.
This will be the last update issued by the Salida Ranger District. The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team will be issuing updates beginning tomorrow (July 12).spacerHaydenPassFire_July 12_saguache Today

spacer** UPDATE: Hayden Pass Fire ** July 11 @ 1 p.m.

Today, July 11 the Hayden Pass Fire near Coal Dale in Fremont County has grown significant from a reported 5,100 acres this morning to an estimated 7,500 acres.

Crews are hitting the Hayden Pass Fire from every angle, including the air, but strong winds and rugged terrain are making the job tough. Photo: Fremont County Community Facebook Page.

Crews are hitting the Hayden Pass Fire from every angle, including the air, but strong winds and rugged terrain are making the job tough. Photo: Fremont County Community Facebook Page.

This change has activated additional evacuation orders for residents in the area. Updates can be found at the Fremont County Sheriff Office’s Facebook Page.

At this point, the fire is at 0% containment as multiple agencies are on scene and additional resources are en route. While the fire is on the “other side of the mountain/ Sangre de Cristos,” Saguache County residents are concerned and encouraged to maintain situational awareness as strong and unpredictable winds increase throughout the afternoon.spacer

HaydenPassFire_July11_PM_Update_Saguahe Today

spacerHayden Pass Fire Activates Evacuations for Residents

Overnight, incident command officials with the Hayden Pass Fire released a fact sheet concerning the status of the incident. Last night a reverse 911 call went out to residents within a 3-mile radius from Coaldale at Fremont County Road 6 with the following message: Anyone in the Coaldale area near County Road 6 and the Fox Creek subdivision are on a pre-evacuation status due to potential increased fire activity.

The #HaydenPassFire is still sleeping this morning. Although officials expect the sun and wind to wake it up soon. Mandatory evacuations for County Road 6 South of County Road 45 are in effect. Colorado Humane are on scene for help with any animal evacuations. Photo: Fremont County Sheriff's Office

The #HaydenPassFire is still sleeping this morning. Although officials expect the sun and wind to wake it up soon. Mandatory evacuations for County Road 6 South of County Road 45 are in effect. Colorado Humane are on scene for help with any animal evacuations. Photo: Fremont County Sheriff’s Office

As of 7 a.m. this morning (Monday July 11) anyone living on CR 6 South of CR 45 is on a mandatory evacuation. Evacuation points are determined to be for people at the Howard Fire Department and for large animals it will be at the Chaffee County Fair Grounds. If things change, officials will send out an additional reverse 911 immediately. Please DO NOT call 911 unless you are imminent danger.

The Hayden Pass Fire is located approximately 5 miles southwest of Coaldale. Yesterday, July 10 the fire exploded in size drawing its fuel from mixed conifer and heavy dead and down trees in the rugged terrain. The fire is now estimated to be at 5,100 acres.

Smoke from the Hayden Pass Fire could be seen on the other wide of the Sangre de Cristos in Saguache. Photo: Saguache Today/Kim Rodriquez

Smoke from the Hayden Pass Fire could be seen on the other side of the Sangre de Cristos in Saguache. Photo: Saguache Today/Kim Rodriquez

For Saguache County residents on the other side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, the billows of ominous smoke lit up the social media feeds about the fire’s activity. At this point there is no threat to any structures or residents in Saguache County.

The blaze started on the San Isabel National Forest and has progressed onto the Rio Grande National Forest. The fire is predominately located in Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. There are multiple agencies on hand fighting the blaze, including Western Fremont Fire, Fremont County Sheriff, and the U.S. Forest Service. Multi Mission Aircraft (MMA) have also been dispersed to help fight the fire from the air.

Road closures include Fremont County Road 6, west of Highway 50, although that could change as things progress today. Stay tuned for updates.spacer

Sign Up for San Luis Valley Emergency Alerts

If you would like to receive Emergency Alerts please register on this site. San Luis Valley 911 has moved to a new system called Everbridge and has moved away from Code Red system. Residents are encouraged to sign-up to receive notifications. Here’s the info:

SLV_911_Emergency_2Get alerted about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for our Emergency Alert Program. This system enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.

You will receive time-sensitive messages wherever you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more. You pick where, you pick how.

Remember this is also a good thing to signup for if you have a relative or friend living in the valley that you want to be alerted about in case of an emergency. Sign up today!spacer

Future Retail Marijuana Stores in Saguache Today?

No doubt it is the pending discussion for nearly every town in Colorado ever since marijuana became legalized in the state. And now, so it is with the Town of Saguache. There will be a work session on retail marijuana stores within the town limits tonight. The Town Board is asking for public input from the community at a special work session on Monday July 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Road and Bridge Meeting Room, 305 3rd Street. Town Board members may or may not participate in the discussion at the work session. There will be no formal decision made at this meeting.

The public is invited to come and share their opinion and information about this important subject.

Smoke Seen in Saguache from Fremont County Wildfire

Smoke from a wildfire burning near Hayden Creek in Coaldale (Fremont County) can be seen on the other wide of the Sangre de Cristos in Saguache. Photo: Saguache Today/Kim Rodriquez

Smoke from a wildfire burning near Hayden Creek in Coaldale (Fremont County) can be seen on the other side of the Sangre de Cristos in Saguache. Photo: Saguache Today/Kim Rodriquez

The Hayden Pass Fire near Coaldale in Fremont County has exploded today and quintupled in size according to Colorado Wildfire Information officials. As of 7 p.m. Sunday night, the area affected by fire is now at 5,000+ acres, with 0% containment. The fire started late on Friday, July 9 most likely by lightening, has grown Sunday in heat and wind, according to Fremont County Sheriff’s Office. The challenge for firefighters is the rugged terrain of the area. Multi Mission Aircraft (MMA) have also been dispersed to help fight the fire from the air.

The Hayden Creek Campground (Cutty's) on Hayden Creek road (Fremont County Road 6) has been evacuated due to the Hayden Passs Fire. The campground is on U.S. Forest Land and U.S. Forest Service required the evacuation, according to FCSO.

The Hayden Creek Campground (Cutty’s) on Hayden Creek road (Fremont County Road 6) has been evacuated due to the Hayden Pass Fire. The campground is on U.S. Forest Land and U.S. Forest Service required the evacuation, according to FCSO.

Smoke from the fire is visible for miles, including over the Sangre de Cristos from Saguache Today.

U.S. Forest Service Fire Crews and Western Fremont County Fire Crews are on scene. Fremont County Sheriff’s Office asks that people in the area do NOT call 911 to report the fire.spacer

Official Word from The Public Information OfficerHaydenPassFire_July 10spacerHayden Creek Wildfire Map_Saguache Today

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It Will Be Memorable in Saguache This Weekend!

Memorial Day Weekend marks the officials start to the summer season. And things are no different in Saguache Today, so here’s the line-up for the first, three-day holiday weekend of the summer. This one honors those who gave their lives in service to the country. So enjoy all the festivities, but make sure to take the time to remember what Memorial Day is all about!

The American Legion Garcia Post 110 will conduct the traditional Memorial Day ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day May 30. the Hillside Cemetery Veterans Memorial. Photo: Saguache Today

The American Legion Garcia Post 110 will conduct the traditional Memorial Day ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. on May 30 at the Hillside Cemetery Veterans Memorial. Photo: Saguache Today

So first things first! The American Legion Garcia Post 110 will conduct the traditional Memorial Day ceremonies in the Saguache area cemeteries on the morning of Memorial Day – Monday, May 30. The group will begin at the Hillside Cemetery Veterans Memorial at 10 a.m., then continue to the old Chicago Cemetery at 11 a.m. The public is encouraged to join these heart-felt traditions that honor those who fought for American freedoms!

The American Legion Garcia Post 110 will lead the Memorial Day ceremonies this weekend in Saguache.

The American Legion Garcia Post 110 will lead the Memorial Day ceremonies this weekend in Saguache.

Now on to the long list of other festivities happening over Memorial Day Weekend in Saguache.

The festivities kick off Friday, May 27 with the Grand Opening of the Blue Earth Cafe in downtown Saguache. The new coffee shop is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be offering fine coffees, teas and snacks most of which is organic. This is the latest successful venture from Saguache Works. For their big splash weekend, the café will be having live music throughout the weekend, kicking things off Friday afternoon will be Barry Monroe playing some original jams from 3 – 6 p.m. For a full schedule, see the Blue Earth Cafe STORY.

Legion Park Sign Saguache TodayThe American Legion Garcia Post has been partnering with many Saguache community organizations to ensure this year’s Memorial Weekend will be respectful and enjoyable for everyone. On Saturday, May 28 the Saguache County Museum will host a pancake breakfast at Otto Mears Park from 7 – 11 a.m. For a mere $5 you can get a plateful of pancakes and sausage, as well as juice & coffee. If you don’t make it to the Saturday breakfast, they will be doing it again on Sunday (7-11 a.m.) as part of the museum’s summer season opening which will include a full day of fun and festivities (see below)

Also on Saturday, vendors will be set up from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the park along with Veteran service organizations who will be on hand to provide the latest information on programs for the Vets.

Food & craft vendor booths will be at Otto Mears Park on Saturday, May 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photo: Saguache Today

Food & craft vendor booths will be at Otto Mears Park on Saturday, May 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photo: Saguache Today

A silent auction will be held on Saturday till 4 p.m. There is still some space available for food & craft vendor booths The cost is $15. Contact Jeannie Ewing 719-480-2920.

The American Legion Garcia Post 110 in conjunction with the Saguache Town Parks and Recreation Board will be hosting this year’s Memorial Day Parade starting on 4th Street at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Free American flags will be handed out as the parade begins. Fire Department_memorial Day BBQAfterwards the Saguache Fire Fighters will be serving BBQ pork or beef ribs, along with potato salad, Marconi salad, cole slaw and baked beans at Otto Mears Park. It’s a fundraiser for $10/Plate.

As activities in the park wind down, the focus will shift to Cozy Castle Theater in downtown Saguache, starting at 6 p.m. Guest speaker Dorothy Brandt, a WWII veteran of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), the women’s branch of the United States Army. She will be there to provide some insight on her experiences. A feature film will follow her presentation. There will be food, fun and entertainment for all.

Then, plan to stay over for the Saguache County Museum official opening for the 2016 Summer Season on Sunday, May 29. Now in its 58th year, the museum has some new & exciting exhibits, as well as books, crafts by local artists, t-shirts & more in gift shop.

The Saguache County Museum opens for the summer season!

The Saguache County Museum opens for the summer season!

Starting Memorial Day weekend, the popular tourist attraction will be open daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission: $7/Adults, $1/Children under 12.

On Sunday at the museum from 9 a.m. to Noon Author Margaret (Minks) Mizushima will have a book signing of the Killing Trail: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery and a t-shirt signing by Larry Ward of “The Man Behind the T-Shirt”

Be sure to stop over to the museum because it’s a perfect time to also pick up all the details on the Sunday Afternoon Historical Lectures or Music Recitals, which will begin in June. You may also call 719-655-2557 for further details. Remember, the Saguache County Museum is a non-profit organization, operated by volunteers, so if you’d like to be one of them or wish to contribute financially, connect with them HERE.

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Housing Available thru the San Luis Valley Coalition

Are you looking for housing in the valley or maybe know someone who is? Well, there are folks who can help!

The San Luis Valley Housing Coalition has been helping low-moderate income households around the 6 counties, including Saguache, that make up the San Luis Valley in Colorado find and/or maintain affordable and safe housing since 1993.spacer

The San Luis Valley Housing Coalition designed the Home Rehabilitation Program to help qualified low-to-moderate income homeowners make the necessary repairs to their home.

The San Luis Valley Housing Coalition designed the Home Rehabilitation Program to help qualified low-to-moderate income homeowners make the necessary repairs.

spacerThey strive to help 9 households purchase a home and 12 households repair a home in need each year. The SLVHC addresses the increasing housing needs of the San Luis Valley through three programs that it offers: Down Payment Assistance Program, Home Rehabilitation Program, the Casita de la Luna Apartments and High Valley Manor Apartments.

The coalition also offer apartments in both Monte Vista and Alamosa for low-moderate income households. The High Valley Manor apartments in Monte Vista, Colorado offers both 1 and 2 bedroom options for all households in need.

Casita de la Luna apartments in Alamosa

Casita de la Luna apartments in Alamosa

The Casita de la Luna apartments in Alamosa, Colorado offers both 1 and 2 bedroom options to those households that fit the elderly or disabled guidelines set up by Rural Development.

Please contact our office at admin@slvhc.com or 719-587-9807 if you would like more information or know a household in need of our services.

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SLV Health is First in Colorado to Implement RQI

San Luis Valley (SLV) Health is the first in the state of Colorado and second in the Western United States to implement the Resuscitation Quality Improvement Program (RQI).

The RQI program combines short skill sessions with online eSimulation cases for SLV Health employees. Photo: SLV Health

The RQI program combines short skill sessions with online eSimulation cases for SLV Health employees. Photo: SLV Health

This program helps caregivers maintain required life-saving skills, like Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support. Ultimately, the program stems from research that indicates a rapid skills degradation after initial training, sometimes as quickly as 6 months. This cutting-edge technology is a new approach to maintaining high-quality CPR and is directly tied to improvement in patient outcomes.

These kinds of innovative technologies are particularly helpful in rural areas where medical facilities can often be located miles away from training classes. The RQI program combines short skill sessions with online eSimulation cases.

San Luis Valley Health in Alamosa

San Luis Valley Health in Alamosa

San Luis Valley Health is a regional health provider serving the San Luis Valley, Colorado and beyond. The fully accredited 49-bed hospital in Alamosa provides outstanding care for those in need of general Medical/Surgical, Intensive Care and OB hospital services. In addition to their state-of-the-art hospital located in Alamosa, SLV Health also operates six clinics throughout the Valley, including the Monte Vista Medical Clinic in Saguache County.

For more information, visit their website: LINK.

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Colorado Trust Releases Report Regarding Saguache

Last week, The Colorado Trust released its report regarding its findings on Saguache. As part of their new Community Partnership initiative, the “healthy equity foundation” hosted a number of community gatherings and contracted with local residents to informally solicit information and data from Saguache residents. Their findings can be read on The Colorado Trust’s website: LINK.

Readers can also watch the accompanying video, which highlights perspectives from lifelong residents, but seemingly leaves out much regarding the recent downtown revitalization efforts by local business owners, the chamber, country tourism efforts and an ever burgeoning arts community.spacer

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The Colorado Trust, a statewide philanthropic foundation hired Arden Trewartha, one of five new Community Partners. Based around the state, the Community Partners are longtime rural Colorado residents.

Trewartha has been meeting with community members in the San Luis Valley to discuss opportunities, challenges, and issues that impact the health of their family, friends and neighbors for over a year. The plan is to partner with communities and help them come up with their own plans and ideas to improve health and well-being for people who lived in the San Luis Valley.

It was a packed house at the Thanksgiving Community Meal in Saguache on November 22, which was hosted by The Colorado Trust

It was a packed house at the Thanksgiving Community Meal in Saguache on November 22, which was hosted by The Colorado Trust

Last summer, the Colorado Trust Fund hosted a couple of community gatherings. The first was the Hogs & Hot Air Festival on June 21, where more than 60 locals listened to ranchers tell tales and afterward, were treated to a community meal which included local pork, potatoes, green chili and churros. Then in November, the Colorado Trust brought folks together around the table again for the Annual Saguache Thanksgiving Community Meal.

Most recently the foundation hosted a free-meal community gathering in late February at the Oasis Restaurant to discuss youth needs. According to the foundation’s website, Laurie Vigil, who works at the Oasis restaurant and drives the school bus, has been contracted with The Colorado Trust to work as a community organizer. According to one person in attendance approximately 30 people were at the information exchange as residents reported back on their findings.

Community Partner Arden Trewartha lives in Buena Vista and may be contacted at Arden@coloradotrust.org or by telephone 719-239-1200.

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Fellowship and Good Food Served Up on Thursday

If you’re looking for a place to connect with other Saguache residents over fellowship and good food, then here’s some good news.

Saguache United Methodist Church is hosting a community meal program on March 10.

Saguache United Methodist Church is hosting a community meal program on March 10.

“Supper with Your Neighbor” is being hosted by the Saguache United Methodist Church this Thursday, March 10, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., at the Saguache Methodist Fellowship Hall, 6th & Christy Avenue. The church is hoping to make this a monthly event for the community. This Thursday it will be a potato bar, served along with drinks and dessert.

Come enjoy supper and good conversation with other members of your community. Bring yourself, your family, or perhaps a friend to join you. There is no charge, but donations will be gratefully accepted.

Everyone is invited. If you can, please join your neighbors for an evening of food and fellowship.

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Information About Youth Being Gathered in Saguache

The Colorado Trust Foundation is gathering information about issues involving youth and youth activities. Saguache Resident Team member Stacey Holden reached out to Saguache Today to help get the word out about how local residents, from youths, to the folks who know youths, can share their opinion about the topic.

Local kids enjoy showing off some bike tricks at last summer's Pow Wow celebration in the park. Photo: Saguache Today.

Local kids enjoy showing off some bike tricks at last summer’s Pow Wow celebration in the park. Photo: Saguache Today.

They have two questionnaires – one for youth and one for adults. Please print and fill out your survey. Afterwards you can either drop it off at the Town Hall or the library, or email it back to Stacey at staceyamosart@aol.com. Here’s the LINK.

Some Background
A new initiative by the Colorado Trust, a healthy equity foundation, means that San Luis Valley residents will have the opportunity to help shape and determine future programming and funding that improves their health and well-being.

Arden Trewartha

Arden Trewartha

Saguache Community Partner Arden Trewartha has been meeting with community members in the San Luis Valley to discuss opportunities, challenges, and issues that impact the health of their family, friends and neighbors for over a year. She has been partnering with communities to help them come up with their own plans and ideas about how to improve health and well-being for people who live here.

During the past year, the Colorado Trust Fund has hosted a number of community gatherings, like the Hogs & Hot Air Festival last June 21, where more than 60 locals listened to ranchers tell tales and afterward, were treated to a community meal which included local pork, potatoes, green chili and churros.

Saguache youth Antonio (left) and Luke (right) kept their good table manners in check while eating ‘til their heart’s content at the Thanksgiving Community Meal in Saguache on November 22. Photo: Saguache Today

Saguache youth Antonio (left) and Luke (right) kept their good table manners in check while eating ‘til their heart’s content at the Thanksgiving Community Meal in Saguache on November 22. Photo: Saguache Today

Then in November, the Colorado Trust brought folks together around the table again for the Annual Saguache Thanksgiving Community Meal.

Now, the program is gathering information about youth in Saguache and is looking for local residents to share their opinions. If you have any questions about this or want to become involved with any of the programs that the Colorado Trust is conducting, please contact Arden Trewartha at Arden@coloradotrust.org or 719-239-1200.

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Food Bank Distribution Thursday in Monte Vista

As winter tightens its icy grip on the San Luis Valley, residents can often find that keeping food in the cupboards can be challenging. For many who are struggling, fresh produce is the most difficult to get. For others, it’s difficult to ask for assistance. Thankfully there’s the Compassion Food Bank (Compa) and their next distribution in the San Luis Valley will be this Thursday, Jan. 21 in Monte Vista at Ski Hi Stampede from 12 noon – 3 p.m.

A Compassion Food Bank Truck arrives to distribute food. They will be in Monte Vista on Jan. 21. Photo:KOAA

A Compassion Food Bank Truck arrives to distribute food. They will be in Monte Vista on Jan. 21 from 12 noon – 3 p.m. at Ski Hi Stampede. Photo:KOAA

Compa is a nonprofit organization that operates out of Pueblo to serve people throughout Southern Colorado. It is not affiliated with any group, church, or state organization therefore, there is NO QUALIFYING to receive the benefits from the food bank. They ask for a $20 donation to cover costs such as operating the refrigerated truck, as well as paying for the fuel to pick the food up in Denver and get it distributed throughout Southern Colorado. On average, a food box is comparable to about $120-150 of retail groceries.

According to their website, they provide fresh fruits & veggies – a lot is organic – breads, tortillas, dairy products, as well as a variety of other donated items which most other food banks don’t want to deal with, because of storage issues.

A $20 donation for a food box will get you 6x the groceries in a typical retail store. Photo: Canon City Daily Record

A $20 donation for a food box will get you 6x the groceries in a typical retail store. Photo: Canon City Daily Record

Typically you will receive enough food to share with friends or neighbors and your participation does not take away from someone in need, it ensures that the program continues for everyone. According to organizers, the food is collected directly at distribution plants. It is not leftover or secondhand items from grocers or things close to expiration, but is healthy and fresh products. In full disclosure, they do recommend that you look over the boxes before accepting them.

Now in its second decade of operation, Compassion Food Bank started in 2004 in the San Luis Valley when the founder’s mother and other seniors at her church were concerned about how many people were struggling to buy things. Compassion Food Bank is there to help those in need, particularly families with young children, single parents and elderly who sometimes struggle to buy groceries.

Since anyone can participate, you can pick up a box for someone else to help out. According to a recent post on the group’s Facebook Page: We had a local property owner come through and donate for 6 boxes over Christmas and delivered one to each of her renters. This has a much greater impact than knocking $20 off the rent. She would not have been able to do this with any other program because of restrictions other food pantries have in place.

Compa has distributions twice a week throughout Southern Colorado and encourages everyone to take advantage of the events. So please support the program and share the information and the schedule of events. Also, if you in a position to contribute they do take donations and are available for pick up. Contact Compassion Food Bank Distribution Manager Larry Ocana with any questions: 719-406-4174.spacerCompassonate Care

spacerSan Luis Valley 4-H Needs Adult Volunteers 

The San Luis Valley 4-H youth development program is looking for adults to share their knowledge as volunteers. 4-h_Club-290x300These volunteers will leverage their experiences and interests to help youth build life skills in various subject areas.

“Volunteers are essential to help youth make the most of the wide variety of learning experiences they are presented with in 4-H,” said Amy Henschen, 4-H Extension Agent with Colorado State University. “We are currently looking for adults to serve as project leaders or help with workshops and school programming so we can better serve youth in the Valley.”

As a 4-H volunteer you will play a key role as an adult mentor and role model for young people that live in your community. MORE INFO.

As a 4-H volunteer you will play a key role as an adult mentor and role model for young people that live in your community. MORE INFO.

Volunteering with 4-H is an opportunity for people to share their personal interests by demonstrating expertise in subjects as varied as robotics, food and nutrition, public speaking, agricultural science, shooting sports and more. A person doesn’t have to have a degree in a specific field to become a volunteer in the 4-H program. Instead, they just need a passion for working with children and an interest in a certain area.

Adults can choose to serve as project leaders, helping kids enrolled in specific areas learn and complete their project requirements, or as area activity leaders, helping at specific workshops or school programs. Project leaders are needed in a variety of areas, including shooting sports, cake decorating, sewing, rabbit, cooking, outdoor adventure, and photography. The program is also seeking adults to be activity leaders at upcoming outdoor adventure, photography and horticulture workshops.

4-H Volunteers help youth develop leadership, communication, teamwork and citizenship skills and form friendships with youth from all over the state.

4-H Volunteers help youth develop leadership, communication, teamwork and citizenship skills and form friendships with youth from all over the state.

Volunteer opportunities also exist outside of these specific focus areas. The 4-H program is flexible with finding opportunities that match the skill sets and meet the needs of interested adults. Training and support will be provided by the San Luis Valley Extension office. Volunteers must pass a background check.

For more information on serving as a volunteer with the 4-H youth development program contact the San Luis Valley Extension office at 719-852-7381 or slv4H@colostate.edu. 4-H is a national program that teaches kids life skills through partnerships with caring adults. The program is a cooperative effort between Colorado State University Extension and Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.spacer

State Nonprofit Meeting with Saguache Residents

A new initiative by the Colorado Trust, a healthy equity foundation means that San Luis valley residents will have the opportunity to help shape and determine future programming and funding that improves their health and well-being.

Arden Trewartha

Arden Trewartha

The Colorado Trust, a statewide philanthropic foundation hired Arden Trewartha, one of five new Community Partners.  Based around the state, the Community Partners are longtime rural Colorado residents.

Trewartha has been meeting with community members in the San Luis Valley to discuss opportunities, challenges, and issues that impact the health of their family, friends and neighbors. She wants to partner with communities and help them come up with their own plans and ideas to improve health and well-being for people who lived in the San Luis Valley.

This past summer, the Colorado Trust Fund hosted a couple of community gatherings. The first was the Hogs & Hot Air Festival on June 21, where more than 60 locals listened to ranchers tell tales and afterward, were treated to a community meal which included local pork, potatoes, green chili and churros. Then in November, the Colorado Trust brought folks together around the table again for the Annual Saguache Thanksgiving Community Meal.

“For me, as a community partner working in the San Luis Valley under the new Community Partnerships initiative,” wrote Trewartha on her blog, “these events signified a community that is deeply aware of and appreciative of its roots, while also looking to the future and how to grow accordingly. Both the town and county of Saguache are among the poorest in the state. Young people who can leave the community do so, to the Front Range or beyond. In preliminary conversations with residents, jobs, “smart growth”- attracting or growing small industry or businesses, in other words – as well as youth development and engagement are recurring themes.”

Trewartha speaks Spanish and recently returned from two years of Peace Corps work in Peru with her husband. She lives in Buena Vista and has spent the last few months in the valley, hosting both one-on-one meetings and chatting with as many residents as possible. Arden Trewartha may be contacted at Arden@coloradotrust.org or by telephone 719-239-1200.

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Cooking Up Nutritious Meals and Lessons in Saguache

The new “Cooking Matters” class on Mondays makes learning come alive through cooking!

“Cooking Matters” classes will run Monday nights through mid-December and are sponsored inpart by LiveWell Colorado. Photo: Lynn Nowiskee/Saguache Today.

“Cooking Matters” classes run Monday nights thru mid-December and are sponsored in part by LiveWell Colorado. Photo: Lynn Nowiskee/Saguache Today.

As part of the Integrated Nutrition Education Program for the San Luis Valley, the instruction demonstrates how to prepare a new recipe each week, targeting positive eating behavior. The class meets from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Monday evenings for the next 5 week in the Mountain Valley School cafeteria.

These free classes hope to instill life-long nutrition behaviors to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease for children and their families. Take home recipes connected to lessons.

After the class the participants get to take home the ingredients to make the weekly dish at home. Last Monday’s meal was black bean and vegetable quesadillas with mango salsa. Delicious!

This program is made possible by a grant from LiveWell Colorado and funded in part by the Colorado Health Foundation. For more information contact Melissa at 719-580-6550.

Participants get to take home the ingredients to make the recipe at home. Photo: Lynn Nowiskee/Saguache Today.

Participants get to take home the ingredients to make the recipe at home. Photo: Lynn Nowiskee/Saguache Today.

spacerGluten-Free Social Provides Wheat-less Lessons

Do you have food allergies, or maybe you know someone who does? Does your diet feel restricted because you are allergic to wheat?

Saguache Works Interns Brianna Long (left) and Kaya Holden (right) weigh bulk snacks for the 4th Street Food Store. Photo: Saguache Works.

Saguache Works Interns Brianna Long (left) and Kaya Holden (right) weigh bulk snacks for the 4th Street Food Store. Photo: Saguache Works.

Well, good news! There’s help on the way to help you break free of the dietary rut you’ve been in due to having to remove wheat products from your meals.

On December 5, the student interns of Saguache Works will be presenting a Gluten-Free Social, featuring special dishes and recipes with ingredients available locally. The event will take place from 4 – 5:30 p.m. at the 4th Street Food Store in downtown Saguache.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own gluten-free dish or recipe, or just your appetite!
The program will also have samples from the store and volunteers will be making dishes. Everyone is welcome! 
There will be a People’s Choice award for best dish and the winner will get a 4th Street Food Store gift certificate.  

The community is encouraged to come and support this student-driven program. They’ve done a great job educating the public about what it means to be gluten-free and how you can still make delicious, nutritious meals while avoiding wheat products.

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